This is a very interesting marketing strategy. A guy walks into an into an interview and highlights his negatives.
As I look over my copy of Thompson's application, I mentally reduce his chances from minuscule to nonexistent. I glance at my watch. I've got an early flight. I wonder how long it will take my compatriots to blow poor Thompson off.
"So why should we hire you, Mr. Thompson?" the area manager asks, starting with the question she usually finishes with.
"I'm 53 years old," he says without hesitation. "I'm not pretty. I've been unemployed for almost five months—ever since my last company went belly-up. I've got no experience in your industry. If you take a look at my application you'll see that there's a checkmark next to the yes on that question about whether or not I've ever been convicted of a felony. I've applied for any number of other jobs and no one else will hire me." He looks at us each in turn while he's slowly ticking off these points on his fingers, as confidently as if he were explaining his Harvard MBA, his Olympic gold medals and his seven years as CEO of General Motors. "So let me tell you why I'm the best possible candidate you're ever going to find for this position."
And that's exactly what he proceeds to do—demonstrating the poise and assurance and experience he'd gained in those 53 years.
"If you hire me, I can't afford not to succeed!" he tells us with passion and conviction. "I don't have the option of being able to move on to greener pastures—or even brown pastures—when the job gets too grueling. I'm 100 percent committed. As locked into this position as I was locked into that jail cell 35 years ago. And if you'll notice that's where I earned the most of the credits for my college degree. I never wanted a Master's, so I've made sure I've never had to go back. But what I learned in that place—the formal and the informal training—has a lot to do with why I've been so successful at every job I've had since then."
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